Title: Amid The Falling Snow
Warnings: nothing in particular
Summary: Greece and Japan spend the end of the year together, just as they have spent much of their lives together.
Notes: 2. Playing in the snow together. Title comes from a song by Enya, Thanks to Jana for the beta job.
Come, let's go
till we're buried.
Japan had carefully tended his garden through the centuries, building and repairing teahouses and bridges, and always careful to keep the balance of even rows, cherry trees and willows sweeping low over his koi pond. He enjoyed this most of all, simply growing older and watching the seasons pass.
With his youth had gone his sense of wonder, but this was one thing which never failed the cheer him, from the first cherry blossoms of spring, to the solemn gray of his garden bathed in white.
Greece sat near, his tea cup steaming into the air.
"I like this character," Greece said.
"Hmm?" Japan said.
"The kanji for snow. I like many of them, for the pictures they paint, but this one reminds me of a scene like this," Greece said. He gestured to the snow-covered tea house.
Japan nodded. "Ah, yes. I am fond of that one as well."
His early gift this year was a small cat, all white. Greece had called her Mochi, for she loved to curl up in a little ball of white fluff and purr on his lap.
So you won't be lonely—so you won't forget me Greece had said. The last was meant as a joke, surely, but Japan could feel the hint of vulnerability within it. If anything, it endeared Greece to him all the more.
I'd never forget you–everything he never said.
Mochi loved the snow, leaping rolling, leaving her little cat footprints to break the pristine beauty of the snow, to make it comical. Were the snow any higher, she would have disappeared entirely, save for her little black nose and green eyes. She was a bundle of energy, and every time Japan saw her, he couldn't help but smile softly to himself.
Greece sipped at his tea. "I never get tired of this...the seasons changing."
"It's one of the greatest pleasures of this old man," Japan said.
"I hope to see many more winters with you," Greece said.
"I, as well," Japan said.
Let's grow old together, let's stay just like this, he didn't say aloud, but oh, it lingered in his heart, warm and comforting.
Greece finished his tea and set it aside. He stood up, and stretched, catlike, before he stepped out into the snow.
"I can't let her have all the fun," Greece said.
He drew a fallen stick across the snow, and Mochi watched it avidly, before pouncing on the stick, and sinking her teeth into it.
Japan chuckled. "She has the personality of a dog."
"People say that cats are all uncaring, but they're very different. Some are very personable and lively. It irritates me when people go on about cats as if they know them," Greece said. His expression turned sour, which could only mean that Turkey must have been the one to imply such things.
Mochi raced away, over the bridge and away from them. "There she goes."
"Ah, to be young again. Just looking at her tires me out," Japan said.
"If you'll have me, I'll stay until new years," Greece said.
I'll have you. You could stay until summer and I wouldn't mind. You could stay forever, if you wanted.
"Please do," Japan said.
"Good," Greece said, almost seemingly to himself. "Good..."
Greece held out his hands to catch the snow. He closed his eyes, spinning slowly as his face turned red from the cold.
"Come on," Greece said. He held out his hand for Japan to take.
"I'm too old for such things," Japan said.
"You're never too old if you're young at heart," Greece said.
Japan took his hand. Feeling foolish, he stuck out his tongue to catch snowflakes. And even though it was undignified, it was fun, and old joy he had long put away with his childhood. Greece held to him, his brown coat all buttoned wrong, and his blue scarf all in disarray. His cheeks were so red, his hair hidden away by a red hat Japan had gotten for him. Japan could only watch in wonder as Greece leaned in, and pulled off his gloves. He touched his hands to Japan's cheeks.
"You're cold," he said softly.
"So are you," Japan said.
"If we're going to be cold, we might as well do it thoroughly," Greece said.
He took Japan by the arm, and they fell to the snow together. It wasn't as soft a fall as Japan would've liked, but within him rose an escape from the jadedness of the centuries. Death and time had not yet stolen all his happiness. Even if very few things were new, he could still take joy in the old simple pleasures, in Greece's company.
Greece stroked his cheek. "See, the colder you are, the better it will be to warm you up."
Japan leaned into Greece's touch. He said nothing, but his heart responded, a racing doki doki drumbeat. So many years, and yet his heart still felt new and young around Greece.
They awoke to the sound of bells. "It reminds me of the call to church," Greece said.
"There's a kimono for you inside the closet," Japan said.
Greece always looked so handsome in a kimono. In fact, purchasing one for him had been a rather surprising experience. It left Japan feeling so young, giddy as a schoolboy with a crush dreaming the day away as he made the choices.
Mochi let out an angry meow as Greece displaced her from the bed as he rose. She sniffed indignantly, her tail twitching in irritation as she left the room.
"It's hard to believe the year is almost over...they pass so fast these days, it seems," Greece said.
"Yes...the people grow so fast. They seem to wither just before your eyes," Japan said.
"Mortality is what separates the humans from the gods. Some gods find this tragic, mine never cared much," Greece said. He rubbed at his head sleepily. His hair was awry, messy and so endearing to Japan. He was so cute before he was made up, and even if Greece complained about humidity bothering his hair sometimes, Japan always thought the frizz quite adorable.
"I hope the first dream of the year is a good one for you," Greece said.
"I wish you the same as well," Japan.
I hope you dream of me.
While Greece readied himself, Japan pulled out the nengajō he had picked out special just for Greece. It was an old print of a cat walking through the snow.
They'd been to the shrines many times through the years, tying their omikiji to trees to alleviate the bad luck for the year, a hundred instances of finding marriage in the future between the two of them.
He slipped the postcard into Greece's things. On the back was printed in a neat calligraphy kotoshi mo yoroshiku o-negai-shimasu–I hope for your favor again in the coming year.
And that was what his heart wanted most of all—a selfish wish, beyond wishing for peace of his country, or prosperity. Perhaps he had become more human through the years after all.
The year is ending:
I have not left my heart
-A nengajō is a postcard given around New Year's
-the firsts of the year are important in Japanese New Years. The First visit to the shrine on New Year's is called Hatsumōde, the first dream of the year is called Hatsuyume.